Visa backs Phelps after apology for marijuana pictures

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Authorities in South Carolina say they're investigating possible criminal charges against Olympic swim champ Michael Phelps, but his sponsors are standing behind him.

A London tabloid Sunday published a picture that purportedly shows the 23-year-old sports superstar puffing on a marijuana pipe during a college house party in South Carolina last November.

Phelps, not denying it, has issued a public apology.

Today, another of his big-name sponsors, Visa, affirmed support. A spokesman for the credit-payment processor says Phelps is committed to "being accountable and improving his judgment in the future."

Other top sponsors lined up behind him yesterday, including Speedo, Swiss watchmaker Omega and sports beverage maker, PureSport.

There's been no decision yet by some others, including cereal make Kellogg.

Michael Phelps went a perfect 8-for-8 in Beijing, breaking Mark Spitz's single-Games record for gold medals. He swam 17 times over nine days and broke the world record in four of his five individual swims. His three relay teams also set world marks.

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